WINCHESTER residents have criticised plans to close the A&E department at Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

As previously reported, the closure is part of the plans for a new specialist acute hospital on the edge of Basingstoke, using more than £800m in government funding.

Under the plans, which were revealed on Thursday, the RHCH would be refurbished, and a '24/7 urgent treatment centre' opened.

Although the current A&E would close, many services will be retained including same-day emergency care, a planned surgery centre, Florence Portal House birthing unit and outpatients.

READ MORE: Hampshire politicians react over plans to close city A&E department

The news of the plans has been criticised by members of the public in Winchester.

Sam Gamester, 49, said: “I am against it (being closed).

Hampshire Chronicle: Sam GamesterSam Gamester (Image: Chris Atkinson)“I used the department recently, and I had a partner a couple of years ago who used it, and it was wonderful. I think a city the size of Winchester needs an A&E.”

Eighty-four-year-old Anita Monk said that, while it would not affect her very much, scrapping the A&E would be “appalling for the younger generation”.

Hampshire Chronicle: Anita MonkAnita Monk (Image: Chris Atkinson)She continued: “I’d rather have the facilities here. Basingstoke is rather far for people who live here to get to.”

Frank Garrett, 66, said: “I don’t like it, I don’t like that it won’t be nearby. I’m in favour of it staying in Winchester.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Frank GarrettFrank Garrett (Image: Chris Atkinson)Debbie Wood, 61, said: “I think it is awful. People who don’t have transport, how are they going to Basingstoke?

Hampshire Chronicle: Debbie WoodDebbie Wood (Image: Chris Atkinson)“It should stay in Winchester, people want it to stay here.”

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Nineteen-year-old Daniel Boyes said: “I think it is a bit disappointing really.

Hampshire Chronicle: Daniel BoyesDaniel Boyes (Image: Chris Atkinson)“I have gone to the A&E department at the hospital many times, and everyone needs an A&E. (The Basingstoke hospital) will be too far away for most people. The A&E here is right in the middle of the city, so almost everyone can reach it. In Basingstoke, it will be too far away.”

Lynne Walker, 68, said: “Everyone needs that service here.

Hampshire Chronicle: Lynne WalkerLynne Walker (Image: Chris Atkinson)“I think there are so many people who want it to stay. But the facilities are being taken away.”